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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mitsubishi & IHI join forces with WiTricity for wireless charging

WiTricity Corporation (WiTricity), IHI Corporation (IHI) and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) have agreed to join forces to research and develop easily deployable electric vehicle (EV) wireless charging systems readily compatible with electric grids which will make life easier for EV users in the future. The partnership structure of three major players in the wireless charging, electric infrastructure, and EV areas coming together will accelerate the popularization of wireless charging systems for EVs by developing systems that are usable "right out of the box" for individuals, governments, and other entities including power companies in order to make it easier and quicker for them to roll out such systems.

The aim of the collaboration is to make EVs remarkably more convenient for owners by accelerating the popularization (and thus availability) of wireless charging at homes and shopping center parking lots, etc.

Wireless charging systems allow transfer of energy from a source placed on or under the ground, to a vehicle equipped with an energy capture device. Charging occurs automatically when the vehicle is parked, with no physical contact between the vehicle and the charging source. WiTricity has already developed and brought to market its patented magnetic resonance wireless charging system*1. The system that WiTricity has developed can transfer energy further and more efficiently in comparison to conventional systems such as electromagnetic induction and microwave transmission, pushing the possibilities of wireless charging by being able to deliver up to 3.3 kW of charging power over distance of 20cm (almost 8 inches) at an efficiency rate of more than 90%, in manner that is safe and very user friendly. Systems based on WiTricity technology offer smaller size and lighter weight as compared to conventional systems, and operate with no moving parts.

The three companies will combine state-of-the-art wireless charging technology, electric power infrastructure know-how and over four decades of EV research, development, and technology to make easily deployable wireless charging systems for EVs over three steps: research and development, real-world testing, and commercialization.

The first step will include:

Finding the most appropriate and easiest ways of incorporating wireless charging systems into EV charging infrastructure

Clarifying legal matters regarding the new technology and create proposals for rules governing the use of such systems

Testing of wireless charging systems with EVs fitted with power charging receptors internally

WiTricity CEO, Eric Giler noted about the new collaboration: "Electric vehicles offer great potential for reducing CO2 emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. However, they must be user friendly, and wireless charging is an important feature that greatly improves the user experience. We are excited to work with industry leaders MMC and IHI on this important program."

Mr. Kazuaki Kama, IHI's President and Chief Executive Officer, stated "Wireless charging is strategic to IHI. As a supplier of public infrastructure, IHI is deeply motivated to develop systems that are environmentally sound. We believe that user friendly wireless charging will contribute to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles -- an important step forward for 21st century society. Working together with Mitsubishi Motors and WiTricity, leaders in electric vehicles and wireless technology, we aim to become a leading world-wide supplier of wireless charging stations for public, commercial, and residential parking environments."

Mr. Osamu Masuko, President of MMC added "Like we have done with promotion and education of electric vehicle infrastructure such as quick-chargers and being involved with "smart grid" technology, we are happy to enter into a new phase of electric vehicle infrastructure development. I am confident we can be a major contributor along with WiTricity and IHI to quickly make widespread wireless charging for electric vehicles a reality."

*1: Magnetic Resonance Wireless Charging System

A type of wireless charging system, that plants coil and condenser both the transmitter and receptor, and transmits power when the transmitter's magnetic resonance is synchronized with the receptor. The process is similar to when a singer projects just the right sound to shatter a wine glass. It has a distinct advantage in offering freedom when considering charging structure, as the transmitter and receptor can function at various angles, instead of just top and bottom.

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